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by Dave Emke August 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

The 69th annual Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival is now underway at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road, Herndon).

The fun-filled festival, which kicked off Thursday morning, features dozens of fun rides for kids as well as carnival games, fair food and much more. The fair is presented by Fairfax County 4-H.

The fair goes from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Parking is free today and Friday, and it will be $8 per car Saturday and Sunday.

The fun throughout the weekend will include not just the carnival rides and games, but also a “Big Truck” event at 5 p.m. Friday, the tractor pull at 4 p.m. Saturday, and much more.

by RestonNow.com August 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

A three-day sales tax holiday begins Friday in Virginia, giving customers a break on back-to-school supplies and other qualifying items.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the sales tax exemption will be in effect for school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products. According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, that includes the following items:

  • School supplies, clothing and footwear 
    • Qualified school supplies — $20 or less per item
    • Qualified clothing and footwear — $100 or less per item
  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products  
    • Portable generators — $1,000 or less per item
    • Gas-powered chainsaws — $350 or less per item
    • Chainsaw accessories — $60 or less per item
    • Other specified hurricane preparedness items — $60 or less per item
  • Energy Star and WaterSense​ products 
    • Qualifying Energy Star or WaterSense products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use — $2,500 or less per item

Before 2015, the three categories of items were available free of sales taxes on three separate weekends throughout the year.

Under current law, the sales tax rate is 5.3 percent — 4.3 percent for the state sales and use tax and 1 percent for the local option sales and use tax. In the Northern Virginia region, there is an additional 0.7 percent state tax for transportation.

For more details and a more extensive list of what items qualify for the tax exemption, check the Department of Taxation’s guidelines.

by Dave Emke August 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

If you missed Tuesday’s deadline to register for Lake Anne’s first Cardboard Boat Regatta, scheduled for later this month, never fear. The deadline to get a craft registered for the event has been extended to Sunday, Reston Museum announced Wednesday on social media.

The museum has been sharing numerous examples of possible boat designs on its Instagram account in recent days, including a shark, a tractor, a pirate ship and more.

Participants in the event will be asked to construct and decorate their own boats, which will take to the water in timed heats. Some extraneous material can be used in building the vessel, but there are many rules and limitations to what can be utilized.

Adult and family teams can register for $100; student teams can register for $40. All the proceeds from the event will go toward the Reston Historic Trust & Museum. Awards will be given to the fastest boats in each category, as well as the “Titanic” award for the ship that sinks “most spectacularly.”

“We can’t wait to see the creativity that everyone is putting into their cardboard boats,” said Elizabeth Didiano, executive director of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum. “Some teams are designing colorful, flashy boats while others are focusing on what will help their boat float the best.”

The event is scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. A pre-event “launch party” is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11.

For more information or to register a boat, visit the event’s webpage or contact the Reston Historic Trust at 703-709-7700 or [email protected].

by Dave Emke August 3, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet throughout the month of August to work toward drafting the 2018-19 biennial budgets.

Monday, RA staff will provide an overview to the board on the draft 2018-19 Capital Projects & Budget Plan, along with the Five-Year Strategic Capital Projects Plan. The following Monday, Aug. 14, the Board will receive and provide comments on CEO Cate Fulkerson’s first draft of the proposed 2018 and 2018 Operating Budgets.

At a Monday, Aug. 28 session, directors are scheduled to consider the Decision Points presented within the drafted Operating and Capital budgets. They are also to provide guidance to staff about what should and should not be included in the second draft of the budgets.

Each of the three August sessions is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Directors heard a presentation at their meeting last week on the results of community engagement workshops where input on budget priorities, among other issues, was provided. The Board has been asked to consider incorporating the feedback provided through the community listening sessions into its budget development process for the coming year.

Sridhar Ganesan, At-Large director, said he would like to see more such listening sessions held before the budget is finalized.

“I think we will be doing some public sessions, [and] I hope to do substantive ones so that people can actually give feedback on it,” he said. “For example, ‘These are the projects we’re proposing — how do you react to that?’ [It’s about] actually having a way to get real data back from the people.”

The process is scheduled to continue with another work session in September and the final draft presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, followed by approval of the budgets and the 2018 assessment rate at the Board’s November meeting.

by Del. Ken Plum August 3, 2017 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Taking a break can be good for one’s mental and physical health. If time and resource limitations stand in the way of a traditional vacation, I heartily recommend a staycation or, better yet, several of them over a period of time. These short breaks from routine activities of life and work can be energizing and invigorating. You save the money of a hotel by sleeping at home with short trips away during the day. And you save time by not traveling a long distance.

Virginia is one of the best places I know for a staycation. I offer several examples here and will in future columns, but I in no way will exhaust the list of things to see and do. I’ll leave out amusement parks, for they are well known. Keep an open mind and approach your day away from your responsibilities — with or without others — with a positive attitude and let yourself be entertained and educated by what is around you.

No reservations are needed and on the day of your staycation do not schedule anything in the evening so you won’t be concerned as to what time you return. If you can pay for a night or two away, consider a bed and breakfast or a small cabin or camp, if you are up to it. I have yet to try Airbnb, but it seems like a fine option.

One great example of a staycation is to head south to Jefferson’s home, Monticello. It will take about two and half hours, or longer depending on your stops along the way, to get to this wonderful historic site. Leaving a little early in the morning will allow time for periodic stops and a more relaxing trip.

If you’re heading out early you may not be ready on the way down to stop at Smokin Billy’s Bar-B-Q, but note the location of his trailer alongside Route 29 (5282 Lee Highway) before you get to Warrenton for your stop on the way back. If it’s smoking, stop! Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. (www.smokinbillysbbq.com).

Further on down Route 29 past Warrenton is Moo-Thru — “real ice cream from real dairy farmers.” You will recognize it by the lines of people outside. It will make you forget your worries. (www.moothru.com)

Follow the signs in Charlottesville to get to Monticello, Italian for “little mountain,” Jefferson’s home that he spent about 40 years building. Even if you do not like history, you will come to respect even more the genius of Thomas Jefferson: architect, builder, philosopher, scientist, farmer and, as he asked to be remembered, “Author of the Declaration of Independence, Statute of Virginia Religious Freedom, and Founder of the University of Virginia.” Learn the critical role of slaves in building and running his estate. Discuss on the way home the contradictions in his statement that “all men are created equal” and his ownership of slaves.

Head home and get some ice cream or barbecue or stop at Yoder’s Market on Route 29 for some interesting shopping or eating. It will be a full but restful day. I look forward to going on another staycation with you in the near future.

by Dave Emke August 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Gas Line Break on Herndon Parkway — Emergency gas line repair work between Van Buren Street and Palmer Drive will keep one westbound lane closed throughout the day. [Herndon Police Department]

Still No Stop-Arm Cameras on School Buses — County supervisors have directed staff to work with Fairfax County Public Schools leadership to determine the status of the camera-installation program, and obtain a detailed timeline regarding when the equipment would be installed. Video-monitoring cameras capture images of vehicles being illegally driven past school buses that have their flashing red lights and stop-arms activated. [Inside NoVa]

Herndon Working With Comstock on Downtown Development — A comprehensive agreement on the downtown development is the town’s top priority, its new town manager says, and they hope to get it done this year. [Herndon Patch]

County Police Demonstrate ‘Pit’ Maneuver — The maneuver involves an officer using the police car’s front fender to touch the rear bumper of a suspect’s car, causing the other car to turn before coming to a complete stop. [WJLA]

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